5 Reasons UTI is More Common with Women than Men

by Samit Patel on July 04, 2022

Dealing with urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most uncomfortable experiences, and while some men can surely relate, the pain is more commonly shared among women. This pain is mainly linked to the anatomical differences between men and women, along with their hormones and the ways in which women avoid their urine.


What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary tract. It is often associated with the bladder, urethra, and ureters, and it can be caused by bacteria or a virus. 

The infection can be mild and last a short period of time or can get worse and turn into a serious medical issue. UTI is commonly seen in women and those who have a long-term medical illness, while men tend to have it less frequently.


Why Do Women Get More UTIs Than Men?


1. Length of Urethra

The urethra in women is only one to two inches long, compared to the average of six inches in length in men. It’s easier for bacteria to reach the bladder in women because the route is shorter and the bacteria can travel more quickly, therefore causing UTIs.


2. Sensitive Skin (Mucosa) 

The skin of the urethral opening in women is more sensitive than in men’s, which means that it can be more easily irritated by infections.


3. Placement of Urethra

The urethra in women is close to the anus, so the bacteria in the anus can easily reach the urethra. In men, the urethra is located farther away from the anus, which prevents the ureteral opening from getting irritated easily.


4. Sexual Contact 

Sexual intercourse can cause UTIs in women, not just because it can irritate the urethra, but also because it can easily spread bacteria. A woman’s urethra can easily be exposed to bacteria during sex, especially if the man has not washed or cleaned his penis before intercourse.


5. Certain Contraceptives

Contraceptives like diaphragms, IUDs, and certain types of birth control pills can be the cause of UTIs if they affect the bladder’s ability to stay empty because the devices collect urine and prevent it from draining effectively.


Simple Tips to Prevent UTI in Women 


1. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water can help the body flush the bacteria out and prevent UTIs from occurring.


2. Maintain Healthy Bowel Habits

Constipation can cause an accumulation of bacteria in the intestine, which can lead to UTIs.


3. Urinate Regularly

Frequent urination can provide a good way to prevent a UTI.


4. Urinate Before and After Sex

Urinating before and after sex can remove any bacteria that might get into the urethra during sex.


5. Avoid Douching

When mucous membranes are irritated they become more susceptible to infection. Douching can cause further irritation.


6. Drink Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice contains antioxidants that can fight off bacteria and help the body fight off infections, including UTIs.


The Bottom Line: Understanding the Realities of UTI in Women 

Worsening UTI can result in more serious complications like kidney infection and kidney failure, and it can be medically serious if not treated immediately. It is therefore important to seek a doctor’s advice if you’re dealing with UTI.

If you want to know more about UTIs or discuss prevention methods with a professional, you can see a urologist.


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